Reyaz Rashid

Bird flu: Two areas in Srinagar declared alert zones

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Sopore, Uri too under radar

Srinagar/Baramulla: Authorities on Monday declared two areas of Srinagar city as alert zones after samples lifted from dead crows in these areas tested positive for H5N8 strain of avian influenza.

Officials said the samples lifted from dead crows near Delhi Public School at Athwajan and the Flood spill channel at uptown Peerbagh locality a few days ago tested positive for H5N8 strain at ICAR-National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases (NISHAD) Bhopal.

“Now in accordance with the stipulated guidelines, a 10-kilometer radius area around each of the said locations has been declared as alert zone,” the officials said.

They said among other measures, surveillance and sampling will be conducted in these areas to prevent the spread of the disease.

Director Animal Husbandry, Dr Mushtaq Ahmad had last week confirmed that crows and migratory birds at few places in Kashmir including Rawalpora in Srinagar, Sopore in north Kashmir and south Kashmir’s Anantnag districts have tested positive for bird-flu.

Dr Mushtaq said that an alert has been sounded in affected areas and samples collected for necessary testing.

Meanwhile, four days after first case of the avian influenza was confirmed from Hardshiva Sopore village of Baramulla district by NIHSAD, several crows were found dead under mysterious circumstances in different areas of the north Kashmir district including in frontier Sub-Division Uri.

Residents of different areas of Uri said scores of crows were found dead in villages Bilal Abad Garkote, Madya Kamalkote, Nambla and Gohallan, triggering panic among the locals.

The locals of these villages have requested the concerned department to send the teams to the villages to ascertain the cause of deaths.

Dr Tahir Gani Banday, of the Animal Husbandry department Uri said that there was no need to panic. “We are looking into it,” he said.

He added a team will be sent to these villages today to examine the things. “Earlier we had also sent some samples for testing and hope their results will come soon,” he said.

He said poultry owners in Uri are advised to sell their stock as soon as possible if they mature and don’t purchase new poultry stock without the consent of the local Animal Husbandry department.

He said poultry farm owners should immediately inform the department in case of the unusual mortality of poultry birds.

He also appealed to local residents to bury the dead birds properly instead of throwing them in open or in drains.

Earlier, the crows and eagles were found dead in villages like Chollan, Dani Seydan and Parampillan, triggering panic.

Chief Animal Husbandry Officer Baramulla Dr Syed Mohammad Anwar Andrabi said that there was no need to panic.

“They might have died due to starvation or cold. We are looking into it,” he said, adding, “a team will be sent to these villages tomorrow. They will also be collecting the samples for testing.”

Sounding alert, an order was  issued in this regard by the district administration Baramulla stated that the Director Animal Husbandry has been intimated that a sample of dead crow from Hardshiva Sopore has been declared positive for Avian Influenza Virus (H5N8).

Meanwhile, Additional District Development Commissioner and Acting Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Aijaz Abdullah Saraaf chaired a meeting of concerned officers in order to take stock of various mitigation measures that have been taken by the administration to control the spread of infection.

On the occasion, a threadbare discussion on the subject was held wherein the ADDC directed the concerned authorities to strengthen surveillance mechanisms in affected areas so that appropriate measures are taken in case of any exigency.

Meanwhile, it was informed that the affected area, Hardushiva Sopore, within the radius of 10 km has been declared as ‘Alert Zone’ in which several mitigation measures have been lined up besides a disinfection process, that shall be carried out by the concerned authorities.

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